Red Pike is a 2,476 ft (755 m) fell in the High
Stile range in the western English Lake District, and separates
Ennerdale from the valley of Buttermere and Crummock Water.
direct ascent of Red Pike from Buttermere is very popular and the ridge
walk from Red Pike to Haystacks is regarded as one of the finest in the
area with excellent views of the Scafells, Great Gable and Pillar.
The fell can be confused with Red Pike (Wasdale)
which is only three miles away but cannot be seen from the summit.
Red Pike in Buttermere is given its rich red colouring by the
presence of syenite in the rock and subsoil of the fell. This is
particularly marked in places where surface erosion has occurred
(notably the stony track by the side of Scale Force and the path from
Bleaberry Tarn to the summit) and the red colouring of the paths can be
seen from some distance.
The Western Fells occupy a triangular
sector of the Lake District, bordered by the River Cocker to the north
east and Wasdale to the south east. Westwards the hills diminish toward
the coastal plain of Cumberland.
At the central hub of the high
country are Great Gable and its satellites, while two principal ridges
fan out on either flank of Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being
a great horseshoe around this long wild valley. The highest section of
the northern branch is formed by the trio of Buttermere fells, High
Crag, High Stile and Red Pike.
The Buttermere Fells, also known
as Buttermere Edge, form the watershed between Buttermere and Upper
Ennerdale. The Ennerdale flanks are steep and rough with areas of crag,
the lower slopes being planted with a ribbon of conifers.
the narrow ridge-top to the north are deep corries and dark walls of
crag, glowering down over the lake. The ridge continues south east to
Haystacks and the Great Gable group. Beyond Red Pike to the west are
Starling Dodd, Great Borne and the Loweswater Fells.
Buttermere Fells throw out a short spur towards the lake with deep combs
hollowed out between them.
Between Red Pike and High Stile is
Bleaberry Comb, backed by Chapel Crags. Nestled deep within is Bleaberry
Tarn, a pool which is in continual shadow from November to March.
Despite the steep contours of the rock walls above, the tarn is only
about 15 ft (4.6 m) deep, and is well stocked with trout.. Bleaberry
Tarn is drained into Buttermere by Sourmilk Gill, reaching the lake mere
yards from its outlet. A belt of trees has been planted along the
Of the three Buttermere Fells, only Red Pike's north
east ridge ends in a prominent top with sufficient relative height to be
listed as a Nuttall in its own right. This is Dodd, and the ridge
connecting it to Red Pike is the Saddle.
The ongoing Ennerdale
watershed continues westwards from Red Pike, losing its rocky character
to become a broad grassy ridge.
Little Dodd (1,935 ft) is crossed
first, before the grassy dome of Starling Dodd is reached. Red Pike also
throws out a northern ridge on this flank, descending via Lincomb edge
toward Crummock Water, the final drop being over Blea Crag.
Between Lingcomb Edge and Dodd is Ling Comb, the third corrie on the
Buttermere flank of these fells, standing opposite the village.
Behind Lingcomb Edge, separating Red Pike from Starling Dodd, is the
valley of Scale Beck. This includes Scale Force, Lakeland's longest
single drop waterfall at around 100 ft (30 m).
slopes are steep, cut by the valley of Gillflinter Beck.
prominent curve of the summit stands out at the head of The Saddle,
appearing quite magnificent from Crummock when High Stile is hidden. The
top is shear on three sides but well grassed and bears a large cairn.
Red Pike is unusual for the number of lakes in view - Derwentwater,
Buttermere, Crummock Water, Ennerdale Water and Loweswater are all on
display. Other highlights include Pillar Rock, Grasmoor and the close-up
view of Chapel Crags.
A variety of ascent routes can be followed
from Buttermere. Sour Milk Gill leads almost direct from the village
into Bleaberry Comb, from where The Saddle can be gained.
Alternatively the path to Scale Force can be used at the start. Climbing
beside the fall itself leads to the reverse slope of Lincomb Edge or an
earlier turn up Far Ruddy Beck gives access into Ling Comb.
Ennerdale, the only break in the trees on the northern side is followed
by a path up Gillflinter Beck. This leads onward to the summit, the only
access on the Ennerdale side of Buttermere Edge.
will combine Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag in a single outing from
Buttermere or Gatesgarth.